Ameravant Support
December 11, 2019

Covering Cancer Costs

Armed with Information: Coping with Cancer, Covering the Costs

by Denise Lozada

A cancer diagnosis is a devastating blow. Coping with the medical, emotional and psychological impact is overwhelming enough, and then there’s the financial hit. Cancer treatment is a costly proposition and determining your financial responsibility is difficult and makes it hard to plan financially. Weeding through your insurance coverage and getting a handle on your out-of-pocket responsibilities is stressful, as are the unexpected costs that your health insurance policy won’t cover. 

It’s a lot to put on anyone’s plate all at once, which makes it a good time to ask for help from a friend or loved one as you go through your treatment schedule and determine what is covered.


It’s often said that arming yourself with information makes it easier to cope with a frightening situation like cancer. Take the time to learn about your cancer and the kinds of treatment you can expect. This will help you begin lining up the medical expenses you’ll face. Ultimately, you can anticipate incurring costs for provider visits, hospital stays, procedures (including room charges and equipment), radiation treatments, drug costs, surgery, home care and more. 

If there was ever a time to ask questions, this is it. Don’t be shy. Let your provider know that you’re concerned about the cost of treatment and would like to discuss the situation, including your options. Go through the treatments indicated for your form of cancer and ask how much is covered for each and how much you’ll be responsible for. As much as possible, try to get a feel for the overall cost of each treatment. And don’t be afraid to ask your doctor if there are other treatments that don’t cost as much, get a second opinion, if there’s an opportunity to get payment assistance, and when your insurance needs to pre-approve any treatments.

Medicare Advantage

You can use Medicare Advantage plans as a supplement for your dental, prescription, hearing, and vision coverage. Plans offered by providers like Anthem offer these benefits along with preventative care benefits. Those who are signing up for the first time should apply during the seven-month enrollment period near your 65th birthday or your 24th month of disability benefits. There are also special enrollment periods that allow you to buy a plan outside of the enrollment period. 

Chemo drugs

Chemotherapy is an important part of most cancer treatment plans, but it’s administered differently these days. Instead of going to the hospital for an intravenous administration, care providers have begun prescribing chemo drugs that can be taken orally at home. Unfortunately, the cost of these drugs can run into the thousands each month. Even if there’s a co-pay, it’s likely an extremely high co-pay that is likely prohibitive for most people. Be sure you know how much you’ll pay for chemo drugs and inquire if there are any patient assistance plans that can help defray some of your costs.

Of course, there are many other drugs used to combat cancer and deal with the side effects produced by some treatments. It’s in your best interest to contact different pharmacies to get an idea of your best payment option for each one.  It’s important to ask lots of questions such as whether there are payment programs that can help. You should also inquire if there are generic brands that are effective and where you might turn for help paying. 

Learn as much as you can if you face having to cover the costs associated with a terminal cancer diagnosis. Ask your provider lots of questions, investigate any available payment plans and assistance programs and price local pharmacies. Anything you can do to defray your out-of-pocket costs will help in the long run. 

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